Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

In the early morning hours of November 10, not long after Donald Trump was elected to the presidency, Phillip Atiba Goff, the head of the Center for Policing Equity in New York, fired off an email meant to encourage his colleagues, who worried that their work was about to be sidelined.

There's a popular saying in Spanish — O todos en la cama, o todos en el suelo. It conveys a selfless commitment to equal treatment, and translates roughly like this: Either we all get the bed, or we all get the floor.

Among many immigrants in the U.S., there's been a feeling that when it comes to the spoils of U.S. immigration policy, the government has given Cubans the bed all to themselves, while it has relegated others – Mexicans, Haitians, Central Americans — to the floor.

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Shelly Fields is a 46-year-old white woman living in Richton Park, a racially diverse Chicago suburb. She says she's raised her four daughters, who are biracial, to see people of all races as equal, just as her parents raised her. Fields doesn't think that racism will ever disappear completely, but she's hopeful that it lessens with each passing generation.

"The more biracial children there are, the more equality we see," Fields said. "The more people of color we see in positions of power – it will help to change the way people see race."

It was billed as a "listening session," a chance for Latino leaders from across the country to sit down with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and talk about the issues important to them and to their constituents.

The details of the story are unambiguously disturbing. Last week, a white 18-year-old man from suburban Chicago was found walking in the cold, disoriented and bloodied. Four people, all black, had held him against his will for four hours, tied him up, and assaulted him while livestreaming part of it on Facebook.

kids in gymnasium
The Outlet

The Outlet in Springfield is a non-profit organization that mentors fatherless male youth ages 8 thru 22 and helps them make responsible decisions and explore their talents. It also hosts events meant to bridge the gap between police and the community at large.

Viridiana Martinez's parents brought her to the U.S. illegally when she was 7. But it wasn't until she was in her 20s, when she took the microphone at a rally in Durham, N.C., that she "came out" as being unauthorized herself. Martinez, now 30, has been on the front lines of the immigrant rights movement in North Carolina ever since.

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It's the holidays. You maybe have some time off, and you're maybe thinking that, between doing all those end-of-year things you swear you're going to do before you return to work in January, maybe you're going to take a minute for yourself.

It was a bizarre Hollywood kerfuffle.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Retrospective forecast: The racial weather this week started out stormy, offered a few hopeful rays of sunshine, then ended stormy.

A guilty verdict in Charleston

On Thursday, a jury in Charleston, S.C., found Dylann Roof guilty of the murders of nine churchgoers at the Mother Emanuel church. In June 2015, Roof shot the victims as they prayed during Bible study.

From NPR's Rebecca Hersher:

In the summer of 1822, Denmark Vesey planned to destroy Charleston, S.C.

He had been born into slavery in the Caribbean and brought by his owner to the United States, where he purchased his freedom for $600 in lottery winnings. But Vesey could not secure the emancipation of his wife and children, as South Carolina changed its laws in 1820 to effectively prohibit the owners of enslaved people from setting them free.

Rewind to August 2015: Then-candidate Donald Trump is on stage in Cleveland at the first Republican presidential debate.

"I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct," Trump tells the moderator, Fox News' Megyn Kelly. "I've been challenged by so many people and I don't, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time, either."

U of I

An effort based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign connects the past and the present in order to better understand the global history of genocide. It's called the "Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies" initiative and brings together experts from a variety of fields who research "history, literature, memory, and artistic representation of genocide and trauma."

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With three weeks left, the reality of the past year is starting to sink in.

Racial conflict showed up in all corners of the news the past week.

Electoral racism

In a recent essay in the New York Times, Columbia professor and historian Mark Lilla issued a warning to liberals left stunned by President-elect Donald Trump's victory: Knock it off with the "identity politics" or be doomed to repeat this failure.

The slew of obituaries that have been published since Olympic diver Sammy Lee's death on Friday rightly highlight his conquest over racism and indignity on the way to winning gold medals in London and Helsinki nearly 70 years ago. As Greg Louganis, Lee's most famous protege, reflected in the Los Angeles Times, "At a time of intolerance, being Korean, he broke down racial barriers, setting an example of what it meant to be an Olympian."

As an Asian-American woman, I've had any number of opportunities to see someone who looked like me on the big and small screen.

Since I was a little girl, I've seen Disney's Mulan, Trini Kwan from Fox Kids' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, to name a few. And while the portrayal of Asian-American women by Hollywood and television could use some work — too often they're oversexualized or rendered exotic — at least we're present and have some depth.

Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian-American man to win an Olympic gold medal, died over the weekend after battling pneumonia. He was 96.

In the 1930s, Southern California had enough of the South in it that young Sammy Lee could only watch through the iron fence most days when other boys his age swam at the pool in Pasadena's Brookside Park. The pool, like the area's beaches and many other public facilities, was segregated. But not on Wednesdays.

Rachel Otwell

A forum hosted at University of Illinois Springfield Tuesday will focus on combating hate that's spread online by neo-Nazis and other terrorist groups. The discussion is titled “Protecting Ourselves from the Lure of Online Violent Hate Ideologies” and will be in Brookens Auditorium from 7 to 8pm, and is free and open to the public.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This week in race: Sports (dog) whistles, protection for Dreamers, a special book—and some hunky calendar men. Really.

Now that the turkey endorphins have worn off, the leftovers are a distant memory, and the Obamas prepare for their last Christmas in the White House, we thought we'd put some of the things that happened over the holiday weekend (and this week) on a platter and offer them to you. No thank you notes required.

Race and Immigration:

Oshun Afrique is getting her 35th tattoo.

She has come to the Pinz-N-Needlez tattoo shop in Washington, D.C., where practically every inch of wall space is covered in artwork. While Afrique lounges on the sofa at the front of the small, quaint shop, owner Christopher Mensah sits at his desk and sketches her tattoo design.

Afrique came to the store after seeing Mensah's work in her Facebook news feed. She and Mensah both agree that anyone looking to get tattooed should scour online portfolios to find the right artist.

Chart of children in poverty by race.
2015 American Community Survey / U.S. Census Bureau

Poverty rates in Illinois are starting to go down. But economic inequality  is growing between white Illinoisans and their black and Latino counterparts.   That's according a recently issued report by group of anti-poverty organizations. That report also showed that being poor in Illinois is a costly proposition. Food, housing, credit and other things often cost for impoverished people than the general population

On election night, as it became clear that Donald Trump would be the country's next president, Dorcas Lind was feeling unsettled. With her children tucked in bed, Lind watched as the results trickled in and battleground states like Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina turned red on the TV map. She thought about work.

Maybe, she thought, this would be good for business. Or, maybe, it was time for a career change.

Lind is a diversity consultant in the health care industry. It's her job to go into companies and help them create inclusive environments for their employees.

There is popular wisdom out there that conversations about race are most productive when the people engaged in them are deeply, emotionally vested in the well-being of one another. Family might be a rejoinder to that wisdom. Perhaps there's such a thing as being too vested.

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